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What’s new in Excel 2019: New charts and enhanced visuals

9th Jan 2019
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Liam Bastick has done some digging to see what is new in Office 2019. This week, he looks at the new charts and visuals of the new version of Excel. 

New charts

You can create a map chart to compare values and show categories across geographical regions. This may be used when you have geographical regions in your data, like countries/regions, states, counties or postal codes.

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Funnel charts show values across multiple stages in a process. For example, you could use a funnel chart to show the number of sales prospects at each stage in a sales pipeline. Typically, the values decrease gradually, allowing the bars to resemble a funnel.

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Enhanced visuals

You can now insert what are known as Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) files into not just Excel but any of your Microsoft Office documents, workbooks, emails and presentations. Once they're in place, they are easy to rotate, colour, filter and resize with no loss of image quality. To insert:

  • Insert an SVG file in Office for Windows: simply drag and drop the file from Windows File Explorer into your document
  • Insert an SVG file in Office for Mac: Go to Insert > Pictures > Picture from file to insert your SVG images.

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Further, you may transform all SVG pictures and icons into Office shapes so you can change their colour, size or texture:

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You can insert 3D models into your Excel files much the same way as other images. On the ‘Insert’ tab of the Ribbon, select 3D ‘Models’ and then ‘From a File’:

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You can use 3D to increase the visual and creative impact of your, so that images may be rotated through 360 degrees.

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Ink Improvements

I can’t say I use these features much in financial modelling, but some of you out there may. Inking features were initially introduced in Office 2016, but there have been improvements made in the 2019 counterpart:

  • New ink effects: you can now express your ideas using metallic pens and ink effects like rainbow, galaxy, lava, ocean, gold, silver and more.

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  • Digital Pencil: you may write or sketch out ideas with the new pencil texture. 
  • Customisable, portable pen set: It’s now possible to create a personal set of pens to suit your needs. Office remembers your pen set in Word, Excel and PowerPoint across all of your Windows devices.

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  • Ink equations: including mathematical equations is now easier – simply go to Insert > Equation > Ink Equation, any time you want to include a complex maths equation in your workbook. If you have a touch device, you can use your finger or a touch stylus to write math equations by hand and Excel will convert it to text. (If you don't have a touch device, you can use a mouse to write, too.) You may also erase, select and correct what you've written as you go.

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Note to Microsoft: it’s “Maths”…

  • New Ink Replay button: if you are using ink in your spreadsheets, you can now replay or rewind your ink to better understand the flow of it. This offers an alternative to GIF images to provide get step-by-step instructions. You'll find ‘Ink Replay’ on the ‘Draw’ tab.
  • Lasso Select at your fingertips: Excel now has Lasso Select, a free-form tool for selecting ink. Drag with the tool to select a particular area of an ink drawing, and then you can manipulate that object as you wish.
  • Convert ink drawing to shapes: the ‘Draw’ tab lets you select inking styles and start making ink annotations on your touch-enabled device. You may also convert those ink annotations to shapes. Just select them and then select ‘Convert to Shapes’. That way, you get the freedom of freeform drawing with the uniformity and standardisation of Office graphic shapes.
  • Use your Surface pen to select and change objects: Well that assumes you have a Surface! In Excel, with a Surface pen, you can select an area without even tapping the selection tool on the Ribbon. Just press the barrel button on the pen and draw with the pen to make a selection. Then you can use the pen to move, resize or rotate the ink object.
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